Creativity: Isaac Mizrahi

8 years ago by

In Partnership With The Outnet

Today on Pardon My French, meet Isaac Mizrahi! Isaac has always been a mystery to me. A real designer rock star, the subject of the cult movie Unzipped, and an amazing entertainer, he’s turned his name into a mega brand that touches everything, from fragrance to tv – he even does stand up comedy…

And today, you can visit an exhibition of his work,“Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History,” at the Jewish Museum in New York City.

He does so much, I’m always wondering what drives him.

He’s unapologetic, walks to the beat of his own drums, doesn’t let anyone label him, and above all, has been great at following his creative force.

As you can imagine, millions of questions came to my mind… And as you will hear, I’m not sure he answered all of them. Isaac is just way too good at telling his own story, and I definitely have lots to learn from him…

[podcast_episode episode=”233947″ ]


isaac mizrahi garance dore photo

On his biggest success not being his fashion shows
Garance: What is your biggest success?
Isaac: The biggest success was my one man show on off Broadway.
Garance: How do you measure your success?
Isaac: By the feeling you get, concurring something or being okay in the world. I really felt okay with the world and myself and I had just got a dog and I was living in that apartment, I was so happy. I didn’t have a boyfriend, I didn’t need anything, I was just doing that show and it was kinda boring doing the same show all the time but there was something to live for with the theater and the little audience.

On being a true New Yorker
Isaac: I have lived in New York since I was born in Brooklyn and I went to high school on 46th street and then Parsons which was in New York!
Garance: A real New Yorker.
Isaac: That’s right, I never left New York and I don’t like to leave New York so much. I really don’t. I know, it’s really bad. It’s like that Woody Allen thing where they have to scrape, claw and clutch the table with me when I leave.

On taking the leap of creating a fashion label
Isaac: It was really great. It didn’t feel like work. It felt like this incredible laser focus. I got this amazing apartment on Greene Street. And Greene Street at this time was absolutely amazing – it was just divine. SoHo in the 1980’s. And it was just a burnt out mess and there was all this real estate. It was me, Annika, and two sewers, and we had our first show 7-8 months later. I decided to have a show in this loft right below the apartment where I was living.
Garance: And how did you feel?
Isaac: When you are in it, it doesn’t feel that remarkable.

On fashion in the 80’s
Garance: How was fashion at that time?
Isaac: It was great. It was really great. It was built more like an orgasm. You would prep things, prep things, and prep things, and there was this big explosion and then it was over. And then at the show there was a big surprise! I think that’s the major difference between then and now. There are no secrets anymore.

On the meaningless but most gratifying art of writing
Garance: When people ask me what I would keep doing, I would say writing.
Isaac: Is that so?
Garance: Yes, all the time!
Isaac: It’s impossible right? It’s an impossible thing?
Garance: And for me, it’s the best way to communicate.
Isaac: It’s the purest thing. And the putting together of words. I won’t tell this to anyone, but sometimes I write a poem, a crazy, little poem that has no meaning, well nothing has meaning, you know what I mean, and it’s the most meaningless thing in the world but it’s the most gratifying.

isaac mizrahi garance dore photo

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Add yours
  • When you are a creative intelligent human being .you are lucky to do different things in life and no one can put your in a box .its not always easy and probably lots of moments when things are not going your way ..but when you believe in yourself you will walk your own unique road!!
    With love to Isac and his amazing creativity
    From The World With Love
    Yael Guetta

  • Bonjour la team Doré :)

    Je ne comprends pas …Où peut-on écouter la conversation? …ça semble pourtant super intéressant mais je ne trouve pas le dispositif habituel, inclus dans le post, qui nous permet d’écouter ;/

  • Natalie May, 5 2016, 12:04

    Hi Gigi,

    Thank you for your note! I’ve resolved the issue so you should be able to listen to the podcast now. xx Natalie

  • Ok… merci Natalie! :)

  • “C’est quelque chose qu’on sent, on est à sa place, en parfaite interaction avec le monde autour.” Voila le sens ultime de la vie…

  • I also love his clothes!
    And putting together words is gratifying indeed. :)

  • One of my favorites! He is on QVC and I watch it because he is so funny and a joy to have chatting away in the background while I am cleaning, cooking, etc. I can’t wait to listen to this.

  • Shana May, 5 2016, 4:12

    This is too good. I do the same. And I’m absolutely fascinated at how he can talk endlessly and still be interesting. I want that skill.

  • He is TOO ADORABLE! He has had a spot in my heart since “Unzipped.” I’m going to download this to listen AGAIN in the car.

  • That was a very interesting interview. I hope you have Isaac back for another.

  • Sevan May, 5 2016, 5:55 / Reply

    L’interview de Isaac Mizrahi et Gad Elmaleh sont mes preferees jusqu’a present.

  • I really enjoyed this podcast — and on several different levels. And one thing I’ve noticed, Garance, is that you allow your interviewees to talk. Too often I notice interviewers, especially if they are interviewing someone they particularly admire and are a bit nervous, tend to interrupt the person they are talking too. This felt like a good conversation rather than a Q&A, the best kind of “interview.”

    Agreed that I’d rather wear my clothes for a long time. That said, I’m kind of itching for that crepe de chine blouse!

  • Rebecca.H May, 6 2016, 2:56 / Reply

    Magnifique! I have seen Isaac on TV, and I’m familiar with some of his fashions. I love his designs, and I also own a pair of his shoes…they are cute floral printed ones and they just shout “Spring is here!!!”

  • Merci Garnace pour l’extrait de l’interview à lire en Français :)

  • Une vraie personnalité !

  • Loved it!!!!! I just wrote an article about Isaac and research his career and personal in great details! It was pure pleasure to listen to this interview!!! Thank you

  • Marie-Clémence May, 6 2016, 9:19 / Reply

    He’s a joy to listen to! Bravo Garance ; this is one of the best interviews so far. Very cute too the way you are clearly impressed by his career/creativity…

  • This interview is to die for! So inspiring and wonderful to listen to! Cheers :)

  • Lauren May, 6 2016, 11:58 / Reply

    Thank you for this wonderful interview! I absolutely adored/loved/lived for Isaac’s show on the Oxygen network back in the very, very early aughts. He was so funny and charming and the show was the best.

  • Great post dear ;)


  • Ainhoa May, 6 2016, 12:50 / Reply

    Il est très ordonné :)))….jolie lecture d’interview, merci :)

  • Garance, il faut que je te dise : MERCI ! Merci pour les podcats “Pardon my french”, je les ai découvert il y a peu, et je suis absolument fan !!!

    J’adore l’atmosphère qui se dégage de ces conversations, c’est hyper intime, je retrouve la magie de la radio, ce sentiment qu’on est à côté des gens, et qu’ils nous susurrent des trucs passionnants dans l’oreille… c’est étrange, comme si on était plus attentif à ce qui se dit quand on n’a pas les images…

    Et puis, quel bonheur que d’entendre tous ces gens créatifs, talentueux, j’en connaissais certains bien sûr, Gad Elmaleh et Isabelle Marant ;) mais je les ai redécouvert sous un autre angle, et puis j’ai découvert ces talents US, la passionnante Zosia Mamet, les hilarantes Erin and Sara Foster…

    Et cerise sur le gâteau, ça me permet de pratiquer mon anglais, je crois que j’ai pas mal progressé (je remercie ma conjonctive qui m’oblige à faire un masque oculaire de 30 mn par jour… et donc à écouter plein de podcasts !)

    Donc oui, je survalide, moi qui lis un peu moins les posts qu’avant, je retrouve la fraîcheur des débuts du blog, et ce talent pour ré-inventer les formats qui est selon moi ta grande force ! A bientôt pour un café/podcast (oui-oui, je suis là, près de tes invités… ou du moins j’en ai l’impression !)

  • Very inspiring interview!! Than you for this. I particularly enjoyed two moments: when you two talk about that nature of creative people in the!! so indeed you don’t care you just want to do it! And the second is about the clothes that we owe as part of us as, weathering them with our everyday life and experiences. I am reading a book now called ‘Worn Stories’ by Emily Spivack which is a compilation of personal stories around one garment or accessory each time with a very special meaning to the owner. And the mannish and tailor things, i am with him on this one, it feels to me, missing this elegant structure of tailored stuff. Tailored design gives a certain structure that implies confidence the ‘oh I know what i want to wear I choose it it fits me’ feeling rather than layering what i found in front of me in the morning.

  • Lorraina Morrison May, 14 2016, 9:03 / Reply

    I love the podcast so much! I only wish that there were more photos for each! This podcast is my new favorite.

  • Thankyou I so enjoyed this interview, had only a vague idea of who Isaac is, love his outlook on life, an inspiration

  • Samantha May, 24 2016, 5:12 / Reply

    This was the best PMF! Isaac is a delight!

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